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Sports equipment, DIY goods and tablet computers rise up consumers’ list of potential online buys: study

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UK online shoppers are now prepared to spend more over the internet, buying a wider variety of goods than previously, new research suggests.

Sporting goods, DIY equipment, tablet computers, toys and mobile phones are all likely to join books, clothing and DVDs as regular ecommerce purchases over the next year, according to a study by parcel delivery company DPD .

Some 2,000 UK adults took part in the DPD survey, carried out by OnePoll Research in July. Of them, 63% said they had bought books in the last year, 61% had bought clothing and footwear, 54% DVDs and 43% CDs. Fewer than a third had bought beauty and healthcare products (32%), kitchen and home goods (30%), toys and games (28%), electrical and photographic goods (25%), garden and outdoor equipment (25%) or software and games (23%).

Asked which products they would consider buying over the internet in the year ahead, the number of people who said they would buy sporting equipment online rose by 69%, followed by DIY equipment (67%), garden and outdoor products (58%), software and games (53%) and PCs and tablet computers (45%). Further down the top ten fastest growing online categories were kitchen and home goods (44%), electrical and photographic (37%), toys and games (32%), mobile phones (29%), and beauty and healthcare (24%). However, says DPD, there is potential for significant growth to be found the categories that appear in both lists: beauty and healthcare, kitchen and home, toys and games, electrical and photographic, garden and outdoor and software and games.

DPD chief executive Dwain McDonald said: “Online shopping has rapidly grown to become a mainstream retail channel in the UK. Over the last few years an increasing number of people have switched on to the convenience of shopping from home and, thanks to the internet it has never been easier to research and compare a wide range of products from different retailers to find the best deal.”

The study came as shopper comparison site released figures showing an increase in searches for sports and outdoor equipment on the site in August, up by 24% compared to July. Video games console searches were up by 78% at the same time. But compared to the same month last year, wine searches rose by 430%, and spirits and beer by 184%. The fastest-growing product searches in August, compared to the previous year, also included barbecues (251%), Apple Mac laptops (234%), and PC games (199%).

Dave McCall, UK country manager for, which is owned by eBay, said: “While the Olympics seems to have inspired a surge in sporting activity in the UK, conversely, more sedentary activities such as playing on games consoles, have also risen significantly.

“If this increase in interest in sporting equipment is maintained it would be a good indication that the Olympics is leaving a long-term positive legacy.”

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